After a quick visit to the future, I’m back with an insightful perspective on energy-saving products! Did you catch my friend Clint’s post on Nest thermostats? (Thanks for the shout-out, Clint!) So in this edition of the Sarah Connor Control Chronicles, instead of focusing on a specific product, let’s get all philosophical about the future of our industry. Although I have seen the future, (and the Control Trends Awards that all begin in 2012… more to come on that!), sometimes we need to study history to get a better perspective on the future. Let’s go back, way back, to the mid 1970s. For some of you, that seems like just yesterday, but the youngsters among us may have missed this amazing era of technological advancement. Until this time, the Heathkit EC-1 was the only “microcomputer” available, and you had to assemble it, and then program it with a toggle switch. But were we all frown-y about the 43-pound DIY kit? Did we complain? Nooooo! We bought thousands of kits. We assembled them in our basements. And some of us got really creative and pushed that little analog box to its limits. When our minds pressed past the limits, the Radio Shack TRS-80 was an amazing ticket to the future. We were so proud of our little Basic programs, stored and retrieved on cassette tapes. Competition with the Commodore PET brought computing to a new “personal level.” At this point, Apple and IBM were sitting back and taking notes. By 1979, the race was on, we were tickled to death to have computing finally affordable and personal. And by the 1980’s poor little Heathkit had ceased production, and the rest is history. If you have ever assembled a Heath Kit, personal computer, or a Commodore, I want to hear from you in comments. My son, John and I might have some work for you inventing the future by remembering the past. Extra Sarah Connor points if you send a picture of your project.
So why am I, Sarah Connor, the voice of the future, wanting to bring you so far back in time? Well, history holds the key to the future. So you youngsters take note! Don’t assume that any one manufacturer holds the keys to the future. As Rodney from the movie Robots once said, “See a need. Fill a need.” Innovation is never locked up by the market leader. And tomorrow’s product is just a seed in someone’s dream right now. Maybe it’s a seed in YOUR dream.
So don’t dis the pioneer, but celebrate the open door. Be the expert that you are. Stay alert for innovative opportunity. Read Control Trends regularly, and then dream outside the box. Tomorrow is in your hands. Get to work! I’m expecting great things from you!